Starting Classes

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After one (disorienting) week of orientation, and two weeks of classes at Nashotah House, I can report, quite gladly, that we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Thus far, life here is both what we expected and what we wanted. We are having a blast.

There is much to say about our life here, in all its color and variety. It’s quite different from the pace of normal life, or even normal studenthood. But I want to start with a general update and then later move into some of the specifics of our strange new world.

Life here is busy, but not stressful; communal, but leaves ample space for solitude; and all in all, deeply rooted in Christ through twice daily community prayer and daily Eucharist.

I know that part of this euphoria is the joy of starting something new; I guess we’ll have to see how we feel when this situation becomes the new norm. For better or for worse, our ideal world is now populated with human beings. Undoubtedly, this will yield unforeseen challenges down the road, but also unexpected rewards.

It’s strange taking six classes at once, particularly since CC only did one course at a time. This semester, I have Historical Theology, Ethics and Moral Theology, and Biblical Interpretation on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Church History and Church Music on Tuesday and Thursday. And the Greek reading course meets on Wednesday afternoon.

So far, the instruction is great, the reading is well-selected, and the material is excellent. At last my interests compliment what I am supposed to be reading in class, rather than compete with it. I find myself reading not only what is required, but picking up titles on the recommended reading list, and listening for citations in class to track down in the library. Thus far, for every page of reading that has been required of me, I‘ve probably read at least two.

I end up doing almost all of my reading in the early morning and in the evening between dinner and bed. The morning class schedule is quite tight, and, although it seems there is little formal scheduling of the afternoon hours, they manage to fill up pretty thoroughly with the miscellaneous community requirements. We have work crew one afternoon, dish duty another, rehearsal for this or that procession, community choir rehearsal, etc. I have landed a position as a “choral scholar,” which involves several additional practices a week so that the handful of us can confidently lead the chapel music during daily prayers.

At home, we’ve put an emphasis on hospitality, usually around dinner time. In the course of these past three weeks, we’ve probably had people over for dinner a dozen times – basically every time we cook, we entertain. Lots of Indian food woven together out of whatever veggies we can find a deal on!

It works out pretty well. We’ve figured out how to work efficiently, simultaneously cooking and conversing so that it takes only slightly longer to have these meals with others (roughly two hours) than we would take on our own. And budget-wise, so far we’ve found that we save enough money cooking from scratch to make up for regularly adding heads around the table.

Sarah is still looking for a job; your continued prayers are appreciated. Money is a lingering concern, although we are perpetually prompted to live on faith and assured that things will work out. No one has ever left Nashotah for financial reasons. These assurances can only go so far against a dwindling bank balance and mounting bills. I try to remain helpfully worried – mindful of what I need to do and working on it without being overly anxious over things I cannot control.

Of course, we’re all in the same boat here. Very few people have any kind of financial security, and some are more challenged than us. Some of the older folks have already sacrificed a lot more than we have in choosing to come here, walking away from successful careers, businesses, and significant possessions. I should probably be grateful: Jesus asked many of his disciples through the centuries to embrace poverty. We only have to endure a little ambiguity and risk financial ruin for the sake of the Gospel (which, though bad, is definitely several steps above poverty.)

So what can I say? Life is good. Keep in touch. After a long battle with CenturyTel and Maintenance, we have at last secured internet for our apartment, so our Skype is now usually on so you can reach us at that number [(208)875.2534]. And physical mail can be sent to Nathaniel and Sarah Kidd, 2777 Mission Rd., Nashotah, WI 53058.

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